Corvallis, OR – The Oregon Ducks and Oregon State Beavers have played each other more than any other two teams in the history of college basketball. This evening’s contest of the Civil War was the 340th edition of the rivalry. The game took on increased importance as both teams came into the game at 1-3 in the Pac-12, making the game almost a must win for each team.
Oregon State won the game 80-72 behind 22 points from Roberto Nelson. Eric Moreland added 15 points, 13 rebounds, three blocked shots, five assists and shot 11-of-12 from the foul line. The Beavers had a 42-34 edge in rebounding plus blocked eight shots and altered many more inside. Because of their lack of size Oregon needs to shoot well to win. That didn’t happen tonight as the Ducks were only 4-of-19 on three-pointers and shot only 37.9 percent from the field. Oregon also only had six assists tonight on 25 made baskets vs. 19 assists on 23 baskets for the Beavers. Much of the Ducks offense reverted to 1-on-1 play.
Oregon changed up their starting lineup inserting 6’6 Elgin Cook which placed 6’8 Mike Moser at the “5” which gave an already taller Beavers more of an advantage inside. Moser is long but thin and has trouble keeping position in the post defensively against bigger and stronger posts which the Beavers have in 6’10 Moreland and 6’10 Angus Brandt.
The Beavers started the game strong. Freshman Hallice Cooke hit two quick threes to give Oregon State an 8-2 lead. They extended the lead to 30-14 as Oregon started off shooting 5-of-20. The Ducks then came back and finished the half strong helped by spirited play from Richard Amardi (seven first half points) to close the margin to 37-30 at halftime. Oregon State was +11 in rebounding and blocked six Duck shots at the half. They held the lead despite being sloppy with the ball and committing 11 turnovers.
Oregon State kept the lead through the second half and led by ten late when they started to run the shot clock down and play it very conservative offensively. They were shaky with the ball, turned it over a few times (20 turnovers total) and the Ducks closed the lead to five. However, Oregon couldn’t make the shots down the stretch, the Beavers made key offensive rebound put-backs by Devon Collier and Brandt and put the game away with strong free throw shooting (27-of-31 for the game).
Moreland was suspended until the start of Pac-12 play. It’s taken him a few games to get back into proper game shape and intensity. At 6’10, very long with NBA level athleticism, Moreland brings the rim protection and rebounding that Oregon State needed. Combined with Brandt and Collier the Beavers now have three strong inside players. If Hallice Cooke (10 points, five assists, one turnover) continues to improve at the point Oregon State has a chance to finish a tough Pac-12 season strongly.
Oregon, a team that was rated No. 10 after winning their first 13 games, has now lost four straight Pac-12 contests. Their defense was better tonight but they didn’t hit enough shots and were beat on the boards and inside. Their perimeter players are strong offensively and their lack of interior size and little rim protection hurts them against teams with skilled big men. Amardi (13 points) and 6’8 Ben Carter (11 points) provided solid performance inside tonight and Carter made some nice defensive plays. Oregon will need that type of performance from those players, better shooting from outside, less 1-on-1 play and continued defensive improvement to make a run in the conference.